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Gafford Coat of Arms / Gafford Family Crest

The surname of GAFFORD, which is a variant of GIFFARD was a baptismal name 'the son of Giford' an ancient although now forgotten personal name. Early records of the name mention Giffard le Bretun, 1273 County Yorkshire. Johanna Juffard of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Henry Giffard of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. For the majority of the English speaking peoples, the main sources of names have been the traditions of the various Germanic tribes of Northern Europe, and the names introduced by the Church, perhaps Hebrew names of the Old Testament, or Greek and Roman names of the New Testament and saints. Many names were brought over to England by the invading Anglo-Saxons, a mixed collection of people from various Germanic tribes, speaking various dialects which were called Old English. The name was taken early to Scotland, and Sir Hugh Gifford is said to have settled in East Lothian in the reign of David I. (before the year 1153), but the earliest charter on record of the name, mentions Sir Hugh, confirming he was granted estates by William the Lion dated in 1186. In the year 1250, a mandate was directed to the bishops of St. Andrews and Dunkeld, at the request of the king of Scotland, to assign to Richard Gifford, kinsman of the king, who was going to the Holy Land with five knights at his own expense. Andreas Gifford was the baillie of Aberdeen in 1408, and Willmus Gifford was a common councillor. James Gifhert was a tenant on the lands of the Abbey of Kelso in the year 1563. The village of Gifford in East Lothian is named after the family. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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